Happy New Year!
I still consider myself a smoking newbie and am reaching out to everyone for some advice. I have had my 22.5" Weber Smoky Mountain smoker for about a year and have done a dozen or so smokes during that time. I think I'm doing okay with the pork butts and baby backs (first couple were certainly a learning experience!). Where I'm really having problems is with smoking Pork Loins and Pork Tenderloins. I've tried each of them twice. Each time the smoke flavor completely overpowers the taste of the meat.
My most recent smoke was this past weekend. Sam's Club recently had a great deal on pork loins so I picked one up to smoke. I cut it in half and smoked a 5lb section.
Here's what I did: Rubbed it down with olive oil and seasoned it using a home made rub. I usually use mustard and then the rub but I thought with the shorter smoke time the mustard flavor may not burn off. It was about 30 degrees outside so I loaded up the smoker with a good bit of charcoal to try to maintain some heat in the cold temps, got it lit, and was able to keep it around 200 degrees. I put water in the water pan and used a combination of hickory and apple wood chips. I also mopped it with a mixture of Apple Juice, rub and a touch of bbq sauce once at 45 minutes and again at 1.5 hours.
At the 2.5 hour mark it hit an internal temperature of 145. I took it off the smoker, wrapped in foil and then again in some towels and let it rest for about 30 min before serving.
It was certainly juicy and moist. I felt good about that! (and it had about a 1/4" smoke ring). But it just tasted like pure smoke. My wife and daughters politely ate it but didn't ask for seconds! (I'm eating it for lunches this week - smother it in enough bbq sauce and the taste isn't bad!)
A couple of observations:
When I pulled the Pork Loin off the smoker - the color seemed light to me. (sorry, forgot to take a pic!) I was expecting a deeper color. I'm guessing this was due to the low smoking temp and short smoking time.
Also, I seem to have a more difficult time getting a "thin blue smoke" in colder weather. It seems like there's either a good bit of white smoke or no smoke at all.
How long should I apply smoke? I usually take a handful of woodchips that have been soaked in water and add them at the beginning and it seems like around 30 - 45 minutes the smoke has stopped so I have been adding a second handful of woodchips.
Am I adding too much wood? (For longer Rib/Pork Butt smokes I use chunks of apple wood which work great but for shorter smokes I though the chips would be better). Also, I typically just open the side door and toss the chips onto the coals. (Is there a technique to this?!)
In addition, does anyone have suggestions for smoking in cold temps?(or should I just break down and buy an electric smoker for the winter time!)
I really appreciate any tips, suggestions, ideas, etc. you may have!